July 28, 2014

Best English Roses For Cutting

Earlier this month I enjoyed this vase of 'Crocus Rose' and 'Charles Rennie Mackintosh' English roses on my dining table.  These two English roses do very well for me as cut flowers.  Neither of them are especially showy shrubs, though neither of them are in excellent growing conditions (part shade).  But their flowers are very useful in arrangements.

There is a new line of English roses that you can order as cut flowers, though they have to be grown in a greenhouse so the plants themselves are not offered for sale.  David Austin's garden roses aren't bred specifically for long vase life.  Roses last longest in a vase when they have lots of stiff petals and little fragrance, and English roses are meant to have a softer look and to smell good instead.  However, if I cut them before they're fully opened and keep them in a cool place out of direct sunlight, most of my English roses will last several days.  When ordering new roses, I have usually selected ones that have decent cut flowers. 

I regularly use English roses in vases, though I usually forget to take photos (sorry these last photos have already been posted).  So I thought I'd write about which ones work best as cut flowers.  Crimson 'William Shakespeare 2000' and mauve 'Charles Rennie Mackintosh' last longest in a vase for me.  Soft salmon-pink 'Queen of Sweden' is almost thornless and lasts well as a cut flower.  Deep rose 'Princess Alexandra of Kent' has gorgeous big blooms that do well in a vase.  'Crocus Rose' (above), soft yellow 'Teasing Georgia', soft pink 'Eglantyne' (which is very prickly) and peachy-pink 'Abraham Darby' are all moderately good as cut flowers.  I haven't used peach 'Crown Princess Margareta' much but I expect it would be in the moderately good category.  Tiny white 'Francine Austin' does moderately well and makes a very nice addition to arrangements of larger roses.  Deep pink 'Gertrude Jekyll' is new for me, but I have heard it makes a good cut flower if you don't mind the extremely prickly stems.  I also haven't tried orange 'Lady of Shallott', white 'Claire Austin' or mid-pink 'Harlow Carr' much in a vase so I can't rate them.
'Lady Emma Hamilton' (above) doesn't last more than a couple of days in a vase, and its blooms are carried so beautifully on the shrub that I often want to leave them there (unlike other English roses that sometimes droop so it's easy to cut them off).  But its color and fragrance are really special, so sometimes it's worth it to put some in an arrangement.  Mauve-pink 'Sister Elizabeth' occasionally lasts a few days in a vase for me - especially in fall - but it often wilts right away.  Deep pink 'The Countryman' is very prickly and doesn't last long when cut.  I have heard from other gardeners that pink 'Royal Jubilee'  and purple 'Young Lydidas' are good cut flowers.  Good news - I found a spot for 'Young Lycidas' next spring.  Yay for more English roses in my garden and in the vase!

July 18, 2014

Daylily Season

Most of the daylilies in my garden are covered in blooms right now.  Above is 'Siloam Double Classic.'

Here is 'Sue Rothbauer,' which has excellent deep rose coloring.  All of the colors in these photos came out a little odd, since the sky around here is brown and hazy from wildfire smoke blowing over from the west side of the state.

'Frances Joiner' is a prolific bloomer in the front yard.

I have a good sunny spot for a pink daylily and am trying to decide between 'Woodside Romance,' above, and 'Jolyene Nichole' (which didn't have any blooms open today).  Both are currently in mostly shady spots and would be happier with more sun.  WR is a deeper pink but the blooms are smaller than JN.

'Lavender Stardust' has been a favorite for several years now.

'Big Smile' glows against a curtain of green, and its pink ruffles are lovely up close.

'Smoky Mountain Autumn' is the theme flower for our smoky sky today.

'Hush Little Baby' plants were divided into eight sections a year or two before, and it is taking a long time for each little plant to build up into a strong bloomer again.  They're growing in the hot west garden where they don't get as much water as they'd like, or else they'd be growing faster.

'Autumn Wood' is the last bloom for this post.  It's a lot of work to pull off the dead flowers from all the daylilies each day, but with the roses and many other plants taking a break from blooming right now, the daylilies are the stars of the show. 

July 8, 2014

July Vase of Roses, Hydrangea and Mint

This is a recent vase with the last of my roses before most of the shrubs take a break from blooming.

I included creamy 'Crocus Rose,' which blends nicely with many other roses.

There were just a couple of peachy-pink 'Abraham Darby' blooms left, so I tucked those in as well.

'Princess Alexandra of Kent' had a bunch of blooms that would have faded quickly in the heat if I left them outside, so into the vase they went.

It's always nice but doesn't always happen that a beautiful bouquet also smells lovely.  These roses have nice fragrances already, but a few springs of spearmint never hurt.

Smaller side blooms from 'Invincibelle Spirit' hydrangea were the perfect color to blend with these roses.

The end result was a tight bunch of yummy-smelling roses in a soft, warm color scheme.